It’s the end of an era…blah, blah, blah…
We’ll not see his like again…blah, blah, blah…
The master politician of his day…blah, blah blah…
I most certainly wouldn’t join with the likes of the increasingly preposterous ‘Stop the War Coalition’ and that all-time reactionary shit Richard ‘treat the Falklanders like the people of Diego Garcia’ Gott in shouting “Good riddance!” in Downing Street yesterday. But it was, indeed, good riddance, as far as anyone with a socialist bone in their body was concerned. You didn’t have to agree with the pro-fascists of the SWP/ Respect/STWC to feel that way.
The question is: will the Dour Scotsman be any improvement? It amazes me how many would-be lefties in local Labour Parties think so. And how many “serious” columnists are almost breathless with enthusiasm for the Son of the Manse and his school motto (“I will try my utmost”): Harriet’s friend, for one; but the numero uno fan must be Jackie. Let us hope they’re not disappointed.
Meanwhile, any idea that Broon might prove to be just a wee, teensie-weensie bit more pro-union and less in love with business than his predecessor, has already taken a hammer-blow.
He’s announced his intention to end the Labour Party conference’s role as the policy-making body of the Party, thus virtually ending the role of trade unions in Labour policy-making.
And he’s created a new “Business Council for Britain”, headed by Permira private equity chief Damon Buffini, and including the likes of Alan Sugar and Tesco’s Terry Leahy: none of them exactly famous for their fondness for trade unionism, are they? (T.Woodley, A. Simpson: please take note).
Broon may not grovel, cavort and free-load in the presence of the rich and famous in the demeaning manner of his predecessor; but he every bit as much in thrall to big business.
The “Pink ‘Un”‘s Andrew Hill (“Lombard”) imagines this letter arriving in six months’ time:
“Dear Damon – Good to see you and ‘the gang’ at Chequers. Alan’s ‘You’re fired’ skit on the last days of the Blair premiership was spot on and I thought Terry’s joke about the farmer, the wellington boots and the organically-reared lambs was priceless.
“I’m immensely grateful for your help with the Business Council. I know that the news got up the noses of the unions at first, but I promised a government of all the talents and without your wise counsel, I’m sure we’d still be agonising about whether to sell off, gear up and slim down the Royal Mail. Thank goodness Harman pipped the postman to the deputy leadership.
“That’s why I wanted you to be the first to know – well, the first after Ed, obviously – that we’re planning to tweak taper relief on capital gains so that private equity partners pay more tax. I know you’ll say we had a ‘deal’ not to touch this one but if there’s one thing I learnt from Tony, it’s that deals don’t last. With a snap election coming up, I need to win back some grass-roots support and this seems the least painfull way to do it. Think of it as my ‘management fee’ for looking after your interests until now.
“I do hope you won’t kick up a fuss. Leaving the council after only six months would be bound to attract accusations of, well, short-termism. It’s up yo you, of course. If you feel like protesting, I believe the GMB can lay their hands on a camel, and you know where I live – All the best, Gordon.”